WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Three boxes of papers reportedly filled with more than 100,000 signatures demanding the release of beagles allegedly inside a Mount Vernon animal testing lab sat outside the headquarters of Inotiv Friday.
The petitions were left to the West Lafayette wind.
On April 21, the Humane Society released a seven-month undercover investigation alleging thousands of cases of animal suffering and death at an animal testing laboratory company headquartered in West Lafayette.
Friday’s demonstration centered around the reported 80 beagles at the Mount Vernon testing site.
The boxes were decorated with photos of beagles allegedly at the Inotiv testing site.
A dozen or so animal advocates in and around Indiana marched from the Applebee’s on Sagamore Parkway, along a trail toward Inotiv and were met by two West Lafayette police officers.
The officers informed the petition organizers they must stick to the public trail and not venture unto the property of Inotiv.
Earlier:Inotiv responds to Humane Society’s undercover investigation
Todd Blevins, Kentucky state director for the HSUS, asked what would happen if they delivered the petitions to the front door.
“They absolutely do not want you on their property,” one of the officers said.
How do you deliver 100,000 signatures, then? Mail them, the officer suggested.
That’s not what the National Humane Society promised those who signed the petitions, said Anne Sterling, vice president of state affairs for the HSUS, based in Bloomington.
“We are determined to deliver the petitions as safely as we can while staying on public property,” Sterling said Friday. “So I am going to assemble the group, we will walk down the sidewalk, staying on public property. And we will leave the petitions in front of their building, on public property.”
The boxes were left in front of the Inotiv sign, and the group – which included beagles Lilac and Fuchsia, sisters who are available for adoption, and a basset hound named Bella – walked away.
“People should continue to sign the petitions,” Sterling said. “We will get the petitions delivered. We are not giving up on these dogs.”
Employees inside the office of Inotiv were unaware of the impending visit, according to a man who said he could not identify himself He added that most people objecting to the testing believe the beagles are in the West Lafayette facility.
“You are the only ones who have that right,” he said prior to the group’s arrival, before telling staffers of the J&C to leave the property and stay on the public sidewalks.
There are no public sidewalks in front of Inotiv, a detail the West Lafayette police officers also offered.
By 12:30 pm, less than hour after the group began its trek toward the Inotiv entrance, the boxes were no longer sitting on the trail.
The undercover investigation
On April 21, the HSUS released a report detailing an investigation involving an undercover worker at the Inotiv Inc. facility in Mount Vernon, Indiana, allegedly assigned to more than 70 toxicity studies involving about 6,000 animals.
“Our mission at Inotiv,” a company representative told the Journal & Courier after the report was released, “is to help our clients realize the full potential of their scientific and medical research, which ultimately contributes to significant improvement in the lives of both humans and animals.
“The research we do is legally required in the US for developing lifesaving medicines, medical devices and biologics.”
More:Beagles and monkeys are often used for medical and toxicity testing. Here’s why.
The Journal & Courier reached out to Inotiv’s spokesperson Friday afternoon for comment prior to deadline. Any comment, if received, will be added to the online story. The J&C also previously asked the spokesperson for a list of lifesaving measures resulting from such testing, and were told a list would be produced when possible.
Among the alleged findings in the HSUS report, some 80 beagle puppies were used in toxicity testing in which the dogs were reportedly forced to ingest a drug via stomach tube every day for months. Those beagles, the Humane Society alleges, will be killed starting in mid-May.
Photos and a video included in the April 21 report showed animals other than beagles allegedly at the testing site, including monkeys and rats.
The scores of beagles reportedly at Mount Vernon remained on the minds of those delivering the petitions, including Kathy Gilbert of Waldo’s Muttley Crew, an Indianapolis no-kill organization that “provides all necessary veterinary care and training that will help our animals find their ‘furever homes,'” according to the website.
“They are the sweetest dogs,” Gilbert said, holding the leashes of sister beagles Fuchsia and Lilac. The dogs eventually will be available for adoption, she said, but for now are being treated for recently diagnosed heartworm.
More than 1,600 beagles are in Indiana testing facilities, said Sterling, whose young son Wilder walked with the group.
The beagles would no doubt be adopted if released, advocates said.
Molly Tamulevich, the Michigan director for the HSUS who was part of the group delivering the petitions, said more than 800 applications came in after a previous undercover investigation involving a Michigan lab found 32 beagles undergoing testing.
Deanna Watson is the executive editor at the Journal & Courier. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter at @deannawatson66.